On savings cards and keychain madness

Yes, of course we want the savings, but why all the key chains? Supermarkets and convenience stores of today spare no expense in mass-producing plastic tabs for their consumers in order to further intrude their advertisements upon the free existence of the American people. Coupons were a hassle enough in the ’80s and ’90s, now there are savings cards, promo codes, double-coupon days, rebates galore and even more coupons for the thrifty consumer. Who has the time or the energy to devote to such meticulous strategy in everyday shopping?

More importantly, who has the space on their key chain to fit all these savings cards distributed by stores that obviously jumped on the bandwagon that proclaimed at the turn of the new millennium that coupons were a thing of the past? This may, at first glance, appear to be a rather trivial matter. Yet I often fear that these small intrusions, unbeknownst and unrealized by the average American, may in fact become the start of a whole new advertising era consisting of name-brand labels plastered on virtually any and every identifiable object in our homes – the one place we find sanctity from the impingement of the world.

Just as telemarketers have raped our phone lines and exploited our general willingness to even pick up the phone, stores now are exploiting our need to save a couple of bucks at each trip for some groceries. And we put up this sort of incursion in our lives simply because we no longer possess the power of consumer demand we once did. In times past, we would allow our demand to drive the market. We were the market force. Today the market is driving us.

No longer are we mere consumers. We are consumers labeled and divided by cards on our key chains. And yes, we could have savings cards from each store without bearing too much of a burden – besides the personal information that each individual must freely disclose in card applications. All of which is carefully stored in a computer database at company heardquarters, along with information on every single product you purchase using your dog-tag, that is, savings card. So rest assured, that the very companies you support through key-chain advertisement are also the ones that are keeping tabs on what you eat for dinner, which deodorant you’re using or even what brand of feminine hygiene you prefer.

Though these individual preferences may seem like unimportant nuances within the American population, they are also what, in part, define us as individuals. Our likes and dislikes have been compiled in numerous computer databases that we support with our own money, leaving little comfort for those seeking privacy in their personal habits. And at this point, it is in our hopes that the savings-card fad will run itself out before there are no keys left on our chain, and only memberships galore with which we can identify.

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